I awoke this morning well rested. I could not remember the last time I had slept in past 8 a.m. The kids and I both started stirring at about the same time. We had plans to make C3PO pancakes this a.m. and so as I told the boys to feed the pets while I brushed my teeth and such. Drew feeds the cats and Gabriel feeds the dog.
But Gabriel could not find Theodore. Sometimes he will sleep hard and not hear us awake. So we all looked through the house to see if he was asleep anywhere. Then it dawned on me as to why we all slept so long. Theodore did not wake me up, with his shrill little bark, to let him out.
We looked under beds, in closets, and dirty clothes hampers. We checked the basement, garage and laundry room. I thought that maybe he got out when Aaron left this a.m. Aaron leaves the house at 5:30 though so if Theo got out at that time it would not be good. Big animals hunt at that time.
I called Aaron and he said he did not see him this morning.
"I figured he was still asleep. He usually is at that time." Aaron mentioned that he took the trash out this morning and did not see anything.
Surely he did not get out last night. I tried to replay the evenings events in my mind. Yesterday was our first really warm day up here and I had ran the dryer twice yesterday so we had opened the garage to sort of air out the basement. I also remember making doubly sure that the cats were in last night because they are more prone to wander out. I also remember Theodore getting up on the couch with Drew and I when I read him his bedtime story. I remember that specifically because he's not supposed to be up on the new couch and I checked to see if Aaron was around. He's a stickler about those things...
I was becoming quite certain that the dog was not in the house. I put on my robe and a pair of boots. I told the kids to stay inside and I set out to find a carcass. Or at least an empty diaper.
My neighbor Pete was out. He's a retiree. Gruff, leathery, still muscular. Rough language but kind eyes. I relayed our situation to him.
"That SOB at the foot of our hill feeds the foxes. They are fun to watch but if there is a little animal out you can guarantee the big ones..." he pointed up the "hill" "...are watching."
He offered to drive around a bit and walk our property and his but he was pretty certain (as was I) that old Theodore was gone. An animal his size did not stand much of a chance out here with the sundown. A little guy, like Theodore, who is deaf and blind....zero chance.
He got out last night and was somethings Midnight snack.
He got out this morning and was breakfast.
He's been doing this sad moaning howl for three days. Maybe he was not well, got out and wandered off to die quietly.
He got out last night or this morning and got hit by a car or is just lost.
Either way he is gone, gone, gone.
When I got back to the house the boys were dressed in camo and armed with bats and swords. Gabriel had his army journal, that he got from his Aunt Cathy in Kuwait, tucked into the front of his pants.
"What's all this guys?" I asked.
"We are forming a search party!" Drew yelled (Because that's the only volume he has.)
Gabriel stood pounding a fist into his hand and said "We're not coming back with out a little white dog."
At this point I sat the boys down on the couch and explained a little thing called the Food Chain and then sang The Circle of Life to them. (Ok. I'm so joking about the singing. But we did talk about it.)
Gabriel wanted to load up his BB gun (Did we bring the pellets mom?) and go and hunt down the dastardly creature who took our Theodore! About that time Pete came by and offered to take the kids for a drive around the circle in his truck. I watched them load up from the deck. I could hear Drew talking up Pete the whole time. (Dang that boy is loud!)
I finally have the boys a little more settled. We did make the C3PO pancakes. I couldn't help but note how much easier it is to do things with out Theodore under my feet. Or with out him barking to be let in and out and in and out. The food was much more appetizing with out his death breath wafting up to give my senses a smack. It's nicer and also sad. It's bitter sweet. I'm not broken up about this but I hate that we don't know his fate and that it was possibly gruesome.
Pete just came to the door.
"Did he wear a diaper?"
"One of our neighbors saw him last night down near that old house they are tearing down. Said he heard some people talking down there and went to check it out. That's where the foxes have their den though so... Just call the humane society and animal control."
If that dog is alive....